The Society of Mary (Marianists,) an international congregation of Catholic priests and brothers, announced today that it is withdrawing from St. Anthony’s Parish on the Hawaiian island of Maui, effective July 1, 2021. The departure results from multiple factors, including a declining and aging population of priests and brothers in the congregation. As part of the withdrawal, the Diocese of Honolulu will assume day-to-day operations of the parish and its spiritual community, with full details to be announced in the coming weeks.
“This was a difficult decision that we didn’t take lightly, especially given the Marianist’s historic presence in Hawaii and special relationship with the St. Anthony’s community,” said Father Oscar Vasquez, SM, Marianist Provincial. “However, after reviewing all of our available resources, it was ultimately decided that the spiritual, physical and social needs of St. Anthony’s parishioners would be best served by the diocese moving forward, and we’re grateful for its support.”
Current Marianists assigned to the parish community include Pastor Rev. Roland Bunda, SM, Associate Pastor Rev. Sylverius Kerketta, SM, Pastoral Assistant Bro. Fred Silbereis, SM, and in residence Bro. Dave Quigley, SM. All will be assigned to other duties. Although the withdrawal will result in no active Marianists serving the island of Maui, the society will still maintain a significant presence in the region, including Chaminade University of Honolulu and Saint Louis School. The Marianists will continue to provide ongoing support and resources to the existing Lay Marianist groups both on Oahu and Maui. Similarly, we are pleased to continue our sponsorship of St. Anthony’s school.
St. Anthony’s is a special community, with its roots on the island dating back more than 150 years. Founded by the Fathers of the Order of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1848, the parish has grown over the decades to include a diverse parish of more than 900 families, many focused ministries, a preschool, cemetery and the only Catholic High School on the island of Maui. Although the Marianists formally assumed leadership of St. Anthony’s Parish in 1976, the order was already well known to the community, having founded the Wailuku School for Boys in 1883 at the invitation of the Sacred Heart’s Fathers.
The Marianists are planning a parish farewell event on May 23, 2021 to honor the many brothers and priests who have served the parish there and to thank the St. Anthony Community for their collaboration and support.